French President Emmanuel Macron faces a crucial week with massive strikes and social mobilizations that are facing his fourth day on Sunday (08.12.2019) and leaving the country semi-paralyzed, in protest at a pol reform of the retirement system.
The mobilization is manifested against a «universal system» of retirements, which envisages replacing the current 42 existing retirement schemes (general, of civil servants, private sector, special, self-employed, complementary).
Macron will meet with several of his ministers this Sunday afternoon to try to get around the crisis. Public transport was still sparked on Sunday in Paris, and chaos can be total next week, after rail unions decided to «expand» the struckout by the public company SNCF from Monday.
Demonstration «until the withdrawal» of reform
For his part, the Secretary General of the General Labour Confederation (CGT) and leader of the opposition to reform, Philippe Martinez, states in an interview published by Le Journal du Dimanche that they will continue with the protest «until the withdrawal» of the reform, and that they will not will suffice with assignments like the ones Martinez already dropped on Friday.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe does not, however, give his arm to twist. «If we do not make a profound, serious, progressive reform today, another (Government) will do another in the future that will be brutal, really brutal,» he said this Sunday in statements to the Journal du Dimanche (JDD).
To try to get out of the conflict, following Sunday’s ministerial consultations, the top government responsibility for the retirements, Jean-Paul Delevoye, will present its findings to social workers on Monday. And on Wednesday, Edouard Philippe will detail the plan to merge the 42 existing regimes. This will put an end to many of the «injustices of the current system,» the prime minister to the JDD will say on Sunday.
For the ordinary citizen, after last Thursday’s union force test in which hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets against the reform – 800,000 according to the police, 1.5 million according to the CGT – transport shutdowns are the well-visible sign of the pulse andea since then.
This Sunday only one in six high-speed trains (TGV), 10% of the other long-haul trains, 15% of the vicinity of Paris and 20% of the regional ones are running on average.
On international lines, there is no train between France and Spain or between France and Italy and between France and Germany only one round trip between Paris and Stuttgart.
90% of services have also been abolished with Switzerland, half of the Eurostars to London and a third of the Thalys to Belgium and the Netherlands.
As for the metropolitan transport of Paris, 14 of the 16 metro lines are closed. The only ones that remain in service are both automatic, 1 and 14. There are hardly any trams in operation, 50% of buses and trains to the two airports have limited hours and much less frequent than usual.
The National Railway Society (SNCF) has asked its users not to go to the stations as far as possible on Monday because, because they cannot put virtually any trains, the situation on the platforms given the influx could be dangerous.